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A Gift for Jesus

Gary Dunahoo
Open to the Gifts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:03
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Series: Stand Alone Sermon: A Gift for Jesus Scripture: John 16:19-24 Beautiful……when you hear the word, beautiful, what comes to mind? Who comes to mind? Do you have a “place,” that when you are there, all is well? I would say that we are designed for being with beauty. What is beautiful to me may not be beautiful to you. We all have things to describe what is beautiful to us. Today I want to show you what is beautiful to Jesus. Look at John 16 with me. (Slide) Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:19-24 (NIV) Spiritual transformation does not come like moral reformation, restraining the heart by looking at the rules and conforming. Spiritual transformation comes from looking at Jesus and being melted with spiritual understandings of His person and work. Today I want to look at the joy Jesus gives. On the night before He died, not only in chapter 16 of John, but also in chapter 14 and in chapter 17, in this very last discourse, the last time Jesus had with His disciples before He died, He’s continually saying, “I have a joy to give you.” I want to look at the promise of joy, the structure of it and the growth that is possible in joy. First, let’s look at the promise of joy. (slide) The Promise of Joy Jesus says, “If you come to meet Me and you come to know Me, you will have a joy that is deep and powerful, it lives in the now.” Essentially, He says, “Joy is inevitable if you meet Me.” Right here in the very beginning He talks about this “little while” stuff. (slide) “In a little while you will grieve; then in a little while you will see me. I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn, and then in a little while your grief will be turned to joy.” V19 What is He talking about? Most commentators believe He’s talking about the time between His death and His resurrection. He says, “I’m going to die, and you’re going to weep, but when you see me as the resurrected Lord, you’ll rejoice.” He doesn’t say, “Some of you who are more emotional in temperament will rejoice.” He doesn’t say, “Some of you who have nicer lives will rejoice.” He says, “You all will rejoice.” The reason it’s important to see what He’s saying here … He’s NOT saying, “You will see Me at the second coming and rejoice.” He is NOT saying, “You will see Me on the last day, you will see Me when you die and go to heaven and rejoice.” He says, “When you see Me resurrected you’ll rejoice.” Now why is that so important? Did you know that the tomb of Jesus was lost? The garden tomb that many of us have been to has a little controversy around it. In reality, they don’t know where Jesus’ tomb is, it was lost? Why do historians know where David’s tomb is? Many of the prophet’s and apostles, they know where their tomb is but not Jesus’ tomb. How could the Christians have lost the tomb of Jesus? Some of the families who lost a child in the Borderline shooting will do something….they will keep the room of their son or daughter intact. Sometimes a family will not touch the room of the loved one that is lost. Why? Because you keep the things that are precious to you when you have lost a loved one? The reason the tomb of Jesus doesn’t matter to us is because we have Him! Anyone who’s a Christian doesn’t need to know which tomb is His, because you have Him. You don’t need a relic. You have Him. You have a relationship with the risen Lord! John 2 recounts the event that began Jesus public ministry. Why didn’t Jesus heal the sick or raise the dead to start His ministry? Why did He create 150 gallons of wine to keep a party going? I believe Jesus began His ministry to show the precedent He was establishing for our lives. He wants us filled to the brim with joy. Paul wrote the Thessalonians, and said, (slide) You became followers of the Lord, for you received the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. I Thessalonians 1:6 Do you know what it means to become a Christian? Some may say, “Well, to believe Jesus is the Son of God, to believe He died on the cross, to believe He rose from the dead.” The devils believe that, and they’re still devils. What’s the difference between a devil and a Christian? The devils know He’s the Son of God. The devils know He died on the cross. The devils know He rose from the dead, but they have no joy in it. The difference between a Christian and a devil is joy. The kingdom of God, Jesus says, is like a man who discovers a treasure buried in a field, and when he discovers it, he sells all he has and goes with joy. He sells all that he has and buys that field. What’s the kingdom of God? The kingdom of God, Jesus continually says, is a power that descends upon you and sends you into the world as change agents, to do the will of God, on earth as it is in heaven. What is that power? How do you know if you’re in the kingdom? Is it the way you dress? Is it the way you look? Is it the way you eat? Ask the apostle Paul, and he’ll tell you. Romans 14:17: “ (slide) The kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17 (NIV) Christianity is not something that makes you philosophical, it fills you with joy! We have the promise of joy so let’s look at the structure of joy. (slide) The Structure of Joy What is the structure of this joy? This joy is very, very different. In a way, Christian joy is like every other kind of joy. You rejoice in what you find beautiful. The structure of this joy is different, because it tells us the spiritual joy Jesus gives is like the joy of a woman … who is in the pains of giving birth to a child. It says suddenly the child is born, and the Greek says, “She remembers her pain no more.” Notice it doesn’t say her pain is gone. I’ve witnessed two children being born. When the child is born, the mother remembers her pain no more. What does the word remember mean? The Bible says when you become a Christian, God remembers your sin no more. Does that mean He’s not aware of the sin? He’s aware of the sin, but the sin doesn’t determine the way He relates to me. If He doesn’t remember my sins anymore because I’m in Christ, He’s not controlled by it. He doesn’t focus on it. It hasn’t captured His heart. Love has captured His heart. The structure of Christian joy is that you’ve located your greatest joy and your greatest beauty in God. He gives you more joy, and you find Him more beautiful than anything else in life. (slide) The Growth of Joy Up to now you’re saying, “Okay, that’s fascinating. This incredible joy, you rejoice even in suffering, and it’s a different structure and everything, but I can’t do that. I read these texts, ‘Rejoice, and again I say rejoice.’ I tried to be happy. I can’t do it.” If you have ever read the gospel of John, you’ll know the word hour has a very technical meaning and has a very focused meaning. It has a very specific meaning. In 7:30; in 8:20; in 13:11; and in chapter 12, even in chapter 2 … Remember when Mary says, “They have no more wine,” Jesus turns and says, “Woman, it is not my hour”? What is the hour? Do you know what the hour is in the gospel of John? “It was the sixth hour, and darkness took over, and Jesus cried out, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ ” In those days before epidurals and anesthetics, every time a woman gave birth she was in incredible agony, and she was right on the verge of losing her life. Jesus is saying two things to us here. He is the one in labor, and the first thing He says is, “I went into labor, and the labor pains I endured were my hour.” The only way for a mother to give her baby the joy of life is to give away her own joy at that moment. She has to give away her joy and maybe even give away her life to bring life to the child. Jesus says, “I gave away a joy to bring joy to you, and the joy I lost and the pain I suffered was my hour. Do you want to know what I threw away for you? Go back and read Proverbs 8. When my Father and I were creating the universe, I danced before the Father, and we delighted in the human race, the men and women we were creating to take part in our joy. Because of your sin, I lost everything. It was my hour. I lost something you will never know. I suffered something you’ll never know. I lost all the joy I had, a joy you will never know, so you could have joy.” That’s the first thing He’s saying, but do you know the second thing He’s saying? It’s just about as astounding. Not only does the woman show us how Jesus suffered, but the woman shows us why Jesus did it. In Hebrews 12, it says, (slide) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.[a] Because of the joy[b] awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT) What did Jesus get out of that incredible, infinite experience of agony and torment He went through? Did He get out of it a sense of accomplishment? He didn’t need that. He had that. Did He get the admiration of the Father? He already had that. Did He get self-esteem? He already had that. What did He not have? Us!!! What does that mean? The focus of His joy is being with us. He wanted us because we were beautiful to Him. It tells us in Isaiah 53:11 scripture says, (slide) When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of His experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins. Isaiah 53:11 (NLT) He’ll look at us and say it was worth it. How could that be worth it? He has linked His heart to us. We are His treasure, we are the gift He wants to receive!!!! (slide) We are the gift Jesus wants to receive this Christmas
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